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Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Backs Call for Shared Parental Leave Reform

Taiwo Owatemi MP responded positively to a question from MU delegate Sam Murray on shared parental leave at the 2022 TUC Young Workers Conference.

Published: 13 April 2022 | 2:04 PM Updated: 14 April 2022 | 1:34 PM
Black mother and father embracing a new born baby, looking down smiling
The reform would see self-employed parents granted access to shared parental leave and pay. Image credit: Shutterstock.

During this year's recent TUC Young Workers Conference, we reported how the MU’s motion on universal basic income was backed.

However another important development from the event was the response to a question about the government's shared parental leave policy by keynote speaker, Shadow Women and Equalities MP Taiwo Owatemi. Asked by MU delegate Sam Murray, the reform would see self-employed parents granted access to shared parental leave and pay. A change in legislation would be a massive benefit for MU members, and a major step forward in the fight for gender equality.

In a Tweet, Taiwo Owatemi MP said:

“It is a top priority because the legislation is old and it needs to be changed”.

Related issues and action the MU is taking

This year we’ve raised the issues our members face relating to maternity/pregnancy and childcare at the 2022 TUC Women's Conference. We asked the TUC to lobby government on the following points:

  • Subsidised childcare from six months old
  • Extend Shared Parental Pay to self-employed workers
  • Revise maternity leave as it applies to the self-employed
  • Introduce a parental allowance for those who may not qualify for statutory pay

We’ve also recently supported calls from Maternity Action to increase the rate of state maternity pay and have increased our own parental grants, as well as making the process more inclusive.

At this year’s Labour Women Conference, our motion was seconded on supporting women through early pregnancy loss. We called for paid statutory maternity leave to be introduced that would be available to self-employed workers and for a standardised system of accessible support, including mental health support, to be introduced after every miscarriage.

What to do if you experience pregnancy discrimination

The next Womens Network meeting will be held on 13 May, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, if you would like to attend please email This particular session is all about returning to work after having a baby and will be led by Cecilia De Maria, who orignally contacted us in August 2021 after she’d experienced pregnancy discrimination.

As a result, we have published advice for anyone working with and hiring pregnant musicians, as well information on what to do if if you experience pregnancy discrimination.

Additionally we have also shared an article looking at how female musicians face discrimination in the workplace, as well as focusing on some of the inspiring musicians lobbying for change.

Representing and advocating on behalf of women in music

At the MU we advocate on behalf of women musicians to ensure their rights are upheld and strengthened – where they encounter discrimination, we’ll challenge it.

Learn more about what we do for women in music.

Join our Women Member Network

Our Member Network is a dedicated space where women from across the country can connect, network and make positive change across the MU and the music industry. The Network ensures that the voices of women are heard, and that opportunities for activism and leadership are created.

Join the Women Member Network

Representing and advocating on behalf of women in music

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